Alice Barnes is an award-winning jewellery designer and maker based in Brighton. She draws complex beauty from the simplest of forms to make elegant, contemporary jewellery with meticulous attention to detail. Her work is influenced by the cuts, folds and repetition used in paper art, and draws on lines, angles and repetitive shapes for inspiration.
If you weren’t a designer-maker, what would you be right now?
I might work for a charity or a union. I used to work for the Royal Collage of Nursing and it felt great to be a small part of an organisation that champions such important members of our society.
When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
In my teens art was the only thing I was really passionate about and I knew I wanted to do something creative. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I went to study at the Birmingham School of Jewellery and jewellery has been my passion since then.
Describe your work in three words.
Geometric, Deco, folds.
Are there any other designers whose work you admire, and why?
Too many to mention! I love the angles and shapes in Leah Jensen’s clay work and Matthew Shlian’s paper art, and the sculptural quality of jewellery by Ami Pepper and Emmeline Hastings really appeals to me too.
What do you do in your free time?
There aren’t many moments when I’m not thinking about jewellery or my business, so whenever I can I like to get down to the beach in Brighton where I live and breathe it all in. It’s the only thing that really quietens my mind.
What’s one thing you like to do everyday without fail?
Eat breakfast! I can’t function without it and the rest of my days tend to vary based on what I’m working on.
What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
Wax carving. Creating something delicate and intricate from a huge block of wax gives me such pleasure and I would do it all day if I could!
What’s the best advice you have been given?
One of my art foundation course tutors at Chelsea suggested that if I ever wanted to take my love of adornment further I ought to go to the Birmingham School of Jewellery. I didn’t go for another couple of years but fell in love with the place as soon as I stepped inside!
What’s the best gift you have ever received?
I have a pretty special ring by Ungar and Ungar which was a leaving gift from my job at Mayfair Jewellers a long time ago. I’d wear it every day if I wasn’t making!
What is your favourite quote?
I often remind myself to “never stop learning”. Pushing one’s boundaries is the only way to move forward creatively.
What is on your bucket list?
Skydiving! I promised myself I would do it by the time I was 30, and I’m already 7 years late!
What is the best piece you have bought and from whom?
A little striped porcelain vessel from Justine Allison. It’s so delicate yet precise, and I get to admire it every day